a/d converter help...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 22:59

I'm purchasing a UA 1176 compressor, Great River ME 1NV pre, and an Avalon M5 preamp, and API plug-ins as well, just wondering what is the best a/d converter to buy for my setup. I'll be recording acoustic guitar, vocals, piano, strings.

Right now i have a M-Audio profire 2626 and planning to use it as a converter only. It runs at 192kHz. or am i better off getting a better converter?

if so, which ones would you recommend?
and i'm using Cubase 4.

I haven't atually tried the m-audio profire 2626 interface. until i get my other gear, i'll have to test it out to see how good the coverter is. but then again, i won't have anything to compare it with.

i only need 2 channels. it's just me recording acoustic, vocals, piano , one at a time.

i just was reading about the converters for m-audio, that it's on the lower end compared to other converteres

Budget???

For no nonsense A/D - Lavry Gold, DCS or Prism.

For really, really good but 1/3 to 1/10th the price - Apogee Rosetta 200.

For affordable wonder - RME.

Cucco, I don't speak intelligent.

No-nonsense
Really really good
and affordable wonder.

Good, better, best in which order?

mcerveni, some of your choices do not appear to be well thought out?

Why would you purchase an 1176, & 2 different preamps? Then, API plug-ins??? Why not just purchase a couple of API preamps to feed the 1176 and screw the other two preamps? Then you would have THAT SOUND! That's the sound hits were born from. What? Not good enough for your purposes? I think not. Not someone else's blah blah esoteric preamps, that you believe will make you sound better. I have a load of API's & Neve's, 1176's & LA 3's and have no need to play with stupid software & other people's preamps who are trying to play catch-up with that "anything you can do I can do better" preamp manufacturers mindset. That doesn't necessarily get you better. It gets you different. Which is not necessarily better unless you believe all of the advertising hype. Being clean is one thing. Having character is another.

A clean character
Ms. Remy Ann David

budge for a converter would be aprox. $1500.

And i guess i just wanted a little variety with preamps.

I'm looking for a rack mount preamp, and i guess API a2d would be best for me then considering i only need 1 or 2 channels. i will be able to bypass the a/d converter though right? this way if i get a 'better' converter down the road.

i was thinking the avalon m5 for a clean acoustic sound...i'm not familiar yet with hearing the diff from clean to character..i know api and great river have 'character' based on the reviews...the great river is deeper sounding then the API i heard in a acoustic sample. so i enjoyed the bottom end the great river gave the acoustic.

i know API is widely used, and great for vocals as well. i want something that will have character for my voice, detailed sounding (kind of like the voice of scott anderson) the way his voice sounds through the mix is very detailed, you can hear the raw-ness and roughness.

again, you can listen to my vocals at http://www.myspace.com/michaelcerveni to have a better idea.

I doubt you'll ever get a better A/D converter than what's in the API. It's about as good as they get.

Just a thought.

J

Yup, I'm with the monkey who has the gun.

What Mr. monkey?? Give you all of my APIs??? Over my dead Neve!
Ms. Remy Ann David

Why should i get the api a2d over a great river or Avalon m5?

also what mic would suit me if i were to get an api 312 preamp?
depends on the singer right?
i was thinking an TLM 49.

My personal opinion is that an outboard ADC is probably the last thing you want to buy. I doubt a bias controlled listening test would uncover any audible difference between it and the ADC in your recording interface. That is a very mature and perfected technology. I would be willing to bet that those who hear differences in ADC's aren't doing bias controlled listening tests.

Flame away. That's my opinion.

fmw wrote: My personal opinion is that an outboard ADC is probably the last thing you want to buy. I doubt a bias controlled listening test would uncover any audible difference between it and the ADC in your recording interface. That is a very mature and perfected technology. I would be willing to bet that those who hear differences in ADC's aren't doing bias controlled listening tests.

Flame away. That's my opinion.

*applies fire*

Greener wrote: [quote=fmw]My personal opinion is that an outboard ADC is probably the last thing you want to buy. I doubt a bias controlled listening test would uncover any audible difference between it and the ADC in your recording interface. That is a very mature and perfected technology. I would be willing to bet that those who hear differences in ADC's aren't doing bias controlled listening tests.

Flame away. That's my opinion.

*applies fire*

I'd be very interested in whatever bias controlled listening tests of ADC's you know about.

I'm with FMW on this.

For me, it's largely a case of the Emporer's new clothes, ESPECIALLY the part that implies "if you can't hear the differences everyone is talking about, then you're a know-nothing" (Very similar to the part in the original story where it stated that only the very smart folks could see the clothes; if you couldn't see 'em, you were deficient.)

I'll happily admit that I hear very little, if any, difference in most converters. I think it's mostly subjective hoo-hah. I've never heard anyone explain to my satisfaction what it is they THINK they're hearing that makes one better than the other, when all things are set up equally. I know it's heresy on here to admit such a thing, but there it is.

Of course, I don't mind having the best stuff for a couple of reasons: 1. it SHUTS UP the gear-sluts who want to nit-pick, and calms down clients who THINK they need it to sound "Better" 2. It removes all doubt that there MIGHT be something better out there. (So I can get on with my work.) But I don't think for one second it makes the SOUND any better.

A/D Conversion? It depends. If you've done everything else right, it's probably the least of your worries. Once you've gotten to the level of the RME's or the other esoteric stuff, they either do what they do, or they're broken. My money's on the performer, the instrument, the room, the mics and the performance itself.

I'm willing to bet that 99% of what's out there is a lot of smoke and mirrors anyway, and no one can REALLY hear the difference in a truly non-emotional, scientific, non-biased, double blind listening test, where all parameters are equal.

I've been asking for proof of this kind of stuff for years. Please, somebody prove me wrong and let me hear what I'm missing. Let's have definitive proof somewhere, not the session you did where everything worked well, the sun was shining, the humidity was low, Jupiter & Mars were aligned, and everyone simply felt good anyway. Give me a real A/B comparison where one recording done with "Brand 1" A/D converter actually sounds better (or even DIFFERENT) than "Brand A". :twisted:

Thanks, Joe.

I've spent over 10 years doing bias controlled listening tests on audio products of all sorts. I'm sure everyone here understands the term perceptual hearing and I can tell you that when audible differences are subtle to non-existent, the brain adds bias to the sounds it processes. Nobody is immune from the effect. Great recordings come from great performances and great skill on the part of the recordist, not from ADC's.

This makes me think you're deaf.

Arguing that there are bugger all differences in AD's, and that the differences you "percieve" are not what's actually there, because you measured it and therefor I must be making shit up...

Next you'll be telling me there is no difference between a VMS/70 and a tinfoil cylinder phonograph... It's all my head.

I've only had one AD that's not on my motherboard soundcard and it's a lot better than the one on my MB... I have a lot of different DA's though, and they're all very very different.

Why don't you show us where you've done bias controlled testing. And I'm thinking that when you control the biases in things you may aswell not test them because it's like testing if 1+1 is going to equal 2 but anyways, one mic, one pre, split into two converters then recorded. No difference? Got proof?

I have to agree with FMW on this one too. Its imposible to turn your own bias off. But in the end, what matters is how well the tool works for you.

I'm just deaf. I should really give up trying to explain the truths of perceptual hearing to people. They simply don't want to believe it. Not a problem. Consider me deaf.

"I'm sure everyone here understands the term perceptual hearing and I can tell you that when audible differences are subtle to non-existent, the brain adds bias to the sounds it processes."

"I'm sure everyone here understands"
Arrogant.

"I can tell you"
Arrogant.

"differences are subtle to non-existent"
About as scientific as the chili heat ratings on the side of sauce bottles.

"the brain adds bias to the sounds it processes"
So after you've made some arrogant statements, not given any actual scientific information you then go on to say that people perceive things differently.

WOW!

"I'd be very interested in whatever bias controlled listening tests of ADC's you know about."
I know this self confessed deaf guy that claims he's done them...

"They simply don't want to believe it."
I wonder why?

"I'm just deaf."
You're not doing too badly for a deaf guy, selling DAW's and whatnot. I hope it doesn't affect you too much.

Anyways, my ears and brain that make things up are going to continue thinking you're full of it until I see some evidence.

ADC units are not just a converter, they have an analog chain within them, the quality of this chain + the quality of conversion give to the overall quality of the product.

An absence of something does not prove anything.

"I'm sure everyone here understands"
Arrogant.

No. Apparently mistaken. I thought professional audio people would have some knowledge about perceptual hearing. Obviously there is at least one that does not. Let me try to explain as arrogantly as I can. Placebo effect is strong in humans. It has caused people to cure themselves in medical drug tests. In the audio world it crops up when sonic differences are either subtle or non existent. People substitute their own sonic differences from bias or expectations. You can put "placebo effect" in your search engine and read more if you care to. I don't think you care to. You aren't open to the ideas of others. You consider people with ideas that disagree with yours to be arrogant.

"I can tell you"
Arrogant.

OK. The reason I can tell you is that I spent over 10 years doing bias controlled listening tests on audio playback equipment. I learned that many things that audiophiles consider audible differences disappear when listening tests are done in a bias-controlled manner. Bias-controlled means there is no way for the listener to know which of two products he is hearing during the comparisons. We learned that DAC's have no characteristic sound. Some DAC units - particularly those with tube driven analog states - had characteristic sounds but logic lead us to the conclusion that it was the analog stages causing the differences not the DAC's themselves. I've never done a bias controlled test on an ADC. Neither have you. If you think ADC's would be different in bias controlled listening tests, then you can prove it to me. I have logic on my side.

We learned that cables don't have sound - at least passive ones. We learned that solid state amplifiers operating below the clipping level were indistinguishable from one another. That isn't to say that

"differences are subtle to non-existent"
About as scientific as the chili heat ratings on the side of sauce bottles.

We define these terms by the statistical results of the tests. We do numerous iterations with a number of people and then tally the scores. Scores in the area of 50-50 are defined as inaudible. Scores in the 60-40 area are views as subtle. Scores in the 70-30 area or above are defined as audible. If you need more details on how we conduct the tests, then let me know. I assume by your attitude that you don't care.

"the brain adds bias to the sounds it processes"
So after you've made some arrogant statements, not given any actual scientific information you then go on to say that people perceive things differently.

WOW!

I can't imagine why this statement would confuse you. Yes, people perceive things differently. Is that something with which you disagree?

"I'd be very interested in whatever bias controlled listening tests of ADC's you know about."
I know this self confessed deaf guy that claims he's done them...

That's true but I haven't ever done any with ADC's as I said above. Apparently nobody else has either. No surprise there. Your opinion that ADC's have a characteristic sound sounds to me like it is based on bias and belief. Mine is based on over 30 comparative listening test with DAC's. At least there is a logical thread there.

"They simply don't want to believe it."
I wonder why?

Because they are not open to ideas that disagree with their own opinions.

"I'm just deaf."
You're not doing too badly for a deaf guy, selling DAW's and whatnot. I hope it doesn't affect you too much.

It doesn't take hearing to make a DAW. Did you think we test hard drives for their audibility before installing them in a computer?

Anyways, my ears and brain that make things up are going to continue thinking you're full of it until I see some evidence.

I have no interest in providing you any evidence. There are countless scientific papers and accounts of bias controlled listening tests on the internet and in publications. If you don't want to look for yourself then I'll simply ignore your rude rantings.

ADC units are not just a converter, they have an analog chain within them, the quality of this chain + the quality of conversion give to the overall quality of the product.

Obviously, you didn't read my post. I said exactly that in an earlier post. You're just angry.

An absence of something does not prove anything.

Nor does a closed mind learn anything.

"I assume by your attitude that you don't care. "
Is this assumption based on statistics?

"I can't imagine why this statement would confuse you. Yes, people perceive things differently. Is that something with which you disagree? "
Sarcasm. My apologies.
I commend you on your skills of being oblivious and thorough.

"That's true but I haven't ever done any with ADC's as I said above. Apparently nobody else has either. No surprise there. Your opinion that ADC's have a characteristic sound sounds to me like it is based on bias and belief. Mine is based on over 30 comparative listening test with DAC's. At least there is a logical thread there."

Okay. It's nice to see some argument for your logic. I can see how you could arrive at these assumptions. I have no scientific experience to back up what I'm about to say... 90% of people don't know their arse from their elbow. Your tests go along way to firming up my _belief_ in that stat.

"Did you think we test hard drives for their audibility before installing them in a computer?"
I would if I was selling that computer to be rack mounted in a recording studio...

"I have no interest in providing you any evidence. There are countless scientific papers and accounts of bias controlled listening tests on the internet and in publications. If you don't want to look for yourself then I'll simply ignore your rude rantings. "

Thanks for sharing though. I figured from when you said "flame away" you were looking for someone so you could unload your superior logic.

I am aware of the powers of placebo. When I was very young, I was playing Long Jump in the backyard with my sister. After a good while I had set a consistent distance that I could not beat... Anyways, my sister proffered a potion that would give me magic powers.
I drank this potion quickly and then added, and could continually keep hitting a point about 1 meter further than what I had done before. The potion contained toothpaste and warm water as I found out later... Much to every ones amusement. I was 5 or something... Anyways, there's a sucker born every minute.

Whilst searching, because I don't care.
I found this.

http://www.abcviolins.com/blindlistening.html

"To quote pianist James Boyk, any such test might just be a case of 'the double-blind leading the double-deaf'."

I will add that I have no experience with any ADC considered "pro" and I am not one of the "professionals" you speak of. Just a loud troll. :)

A properly conducted double blind, bias-controlled listening test can remove all subjectivity from the results. The hearing of the testers is immaterial and particularly unimportant if you use a number of testers. There aren't any value judgements in these tests. We don't ask "does this sound better than that?" We ask "is this A or B?" We aren't looking for qualitative judgements. We are looking for audible differences.

In my experience blind wine tasting still involves qualitative judgements and that is subjective. Is this one more tannic or acidic or fruity than that one? That's doesn't apply well in audio testing because the subjective parameters aren't well defined.

I have no expertise on the sound of violins but I would assume that there are measurable sonic differences between them. If that weren't the case they wouldn't be able to get $15000 for one instrument and $500 for another. I read somewhere that the late 17th century Cremona instruments were so good because the climate at the time caused the trees to have thinner annular rings. Who knows? What I do know is that if a violinist were to play two instruments for a judging panel and the panel knew which instrument was which, the test would be invalid if their sonic characteristics were subtle to non existent when compared to one another. It takes a "gross" sonic difference to obviate or overcome placebo effect.

My opinion is that audio equipment should be as neutral and accurate as possible. If the engineer wants a result that is something other than linear, it makes more sense to use something that is adjustable or defeatable like an effect plug-in or an equalizer than it is to have some sonic characteristic built into the equipment itself. Why? Because you can't defeat it when you want to.

With some things like monitors and microphones, you will find plenty of gross sonic differences. It is the nature of the beast. So you have a collection of mics and you match the microphone to the job at hand, as an example.

With something like an ADC or a mic preamp, it makes more sense to me to have a linear performance because they can be linear. Then you can adjust sonics to whatever result you want outside the box. You don't have to match a preamp or an ADC to a particular project. You adjust the sound in the mix.

Why have an analog stage in an ADC that introduces a non linearity to the process? You are an audio engineer. You should be able to achieve any non-linearity or effect you want in your mix. That's what you do. You make things sound great, right?

"You are an audio engineer. You should be able to achieve any non-linearity or effect you want in your mix. That's what you do. You make things sound great, right?"

I'm a drummer. :P

How does a digital volt meter work?

Greener wrote: "You are an audio engineer. You should be able to achieve any non-linearity or effect you want in your mix. That's what you do. You make things sound great, right?"

I'm a drummer. :P

So am I. Or I was back in the 1960's. Now I'm a pianist and guitarist.

How does a digital volt meter work?

Very well indeed. ;)

One of the huge problems with violin (or other musical instrument) tests is that the experience of the player is so different from the experience of the listener. Players have a very hard time separating their impression of how an instrument feels from how it sounds. So a player can think that one violin is clearly superior than another and someone (another player) can't tell the difference if they are played behind a screen. (There was an academic paper on this phenomenon on line - I look a bit but could not find the link.)

I was in a wine club for a couple of years with an enologist from Virginia Tech. We did various bias controlled sensory evaluations all the time. If you haven't done anything like this, it is a humbling experience. Even a/b/x (which wine is x?) is much harder to evaluate than most people realize. It is really important to be skeptical of what you think your senses are telling you about subtle things. It is very easy for bias to creep in.

Related note: One of the best pieces of advice that I've ever read on the internet was when someone on this board recommended that "if you can't make a really informed decision - buy the unit the looks the coolest. Most of these units sound good and if you really like it you'll make better music." Sometimes bias can work for you.

Bob, I was a high end audiophile once. I got started doing the bias controlled testing when I started reading comments by people on the audibility of digital cables and power cords. Common sense told me they didn't and couldn't have a sonic impact so I tested it and found out that common sense was correct. One thing led to another.

I had a dozen guys from an audiophile society get involved with me in the initial tests which lasted for several months. Every single one of them gave up high end audio from the experience. I don't think I would describe it as humbling. It actually made us frustrated about the beliefs that run rampant in consumer audio. They still run rampant.

The one thing I know for sure is that great recordings are made by people, not by equipment.